As a woman of color born and raised by immigrant parents from Haiti, I know all too well what discrimination looks like. I know how it feels to be singled out because they don’t like your accent, your choice of clothing or the colors you choose to wear. I know what it feels like to be called “boat people” and constantly reminded that “you don’t belong here” and “we don’t want you here.”
And now, in this race, as the first woman of color and the first Caribbean woman in the history of Florida to file, qualify and receive the nomination for a statewide seat, I know what it feels like to be discriminated against by leaders and independent organizations within my own party. Leaders that claim they are fighting for minorities and marginalized groups. Leaders that actively seek to divide us as a party, instead of unifying us around a common vision.
I defeated two rivals in the Democratic Party’s Primary elections on August 23rd, 2022. In doing so, I became the party’s legitimate nominee backed by nearly 700 thousand voters across the state of Florida who entrusted me to represent their interests.
Despite winning the support of over 50% of registered Democratic voters in the state of Florida, there are those within the party who still refuse to acknowledge me as the rightful nominee or to provide my campaign with the support generously given to other party candidates.
I am running as a strong leader who will represent all 22 million Floridians without prejudice. Fully realizing my responsibility before voters and citizens, I am committed to earning the votes of every marginalized community. I have invited a broad range of representatives from different communities to be part of my campaign, such as women, Hispanics, Haitians, LGBTQIA+, Faith Leaders, and others to ensure that all voices within the Democratic Party are heard. I have been meeting with various groups, listening and learning about their struggles to better address their needs when I am elected.
As I work hard every day to win the election on November 8th, I have been wallstoned by leaders in my own party. I was denied speaking opportunities and recognition at public events hosted by the Democratic Party. I was denied having my name put on official slate cards by certain county leaders with the party.
In another episode of blatant disrespect, an independent organization under the democratic banner is now circulating slate cards with my name WHITED OUT.
It is one thing not to include the rightful nominee’s names on a slate. But whiting out my name that is already on the slate is absolutely unacceptable. These actions are beneath the Democratic Party’s values as the big tent party. Members within the party willing to remove my name from slates are essentially campaigning for my opponent. This should not be tolerated.
I stepped up to fight for the people, not against my own party. I stepped up to fight for justice, not to receive unjust treatment. I am communicating my disappointment and disheartenment to all people in the state who understand the importance of diversity, honesty, and integrity, which I represent.
I am calling on all people in our state to put politics aside and vote with your hearts. Vote for what is right, not for what is told to you by leaders who refuse to acknowledge other people’s opinions and beliefs, no matter which party they belong to. I vow to fight for every Floridian and support your right to be yourself and choose for yourself. You can count on me. I hope I can count on you too.